Forget the debate: Two simple reasons a Republican will likely win in 2016

October 14, 2015
Reporters get a tour of the room where democratic presidential candidates will debate at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas

Reporters get a tour of the room where democratic presidential candidates will debate at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Elections are not mysterious events subject to the whimsy of unpredictable candidates and voters. They’re actually highly predictable, with a set of variables that influence outcomes in familiar ways.

Because of that, we can say, with reasonable confidence, that a Republican will be moving into the White House in 2017.

That conclusion is based on the results of a data model we created, and is primarily the result of two factors, both related to the challenges faced by “successor” candidates — candidates from the same party as the incumbent. First, a Republican will win because voters typically shy away from the party currently in power when an incumbent isn’t running. In fact, a successor candidate is three times less likely to win. Second, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are too low to suggest a successor candidate will take the White House.

Why are we so confident, especially when opinion poll data now gives Hillary Clinton the edge over most Republican opponents? The simple answer is that we’re relying on models, not polls.

At this point in the election cycle, poll data asking the “horserace” question (“Who will you vote for in November 2016?”) can be very misleading. This far from Election Day, published poll data is off by an average of 8 percentage points compared with the true election outcome. That’s an enormous number when we’re used to elections where candidates win by two to three points.

Time Before Election

Average error of polls (compared to final results)

One week


One month


Two months


Three months


Six months


Nine months


Twelve months


Source: Ipsos analysis of 300 polls across 40 markets from 1980 through current

Modeling results is a simple concept: look at past data, identify patterns, and use those patterns to make predictions. So we begin by aggregating data from past U.S. presidential elections, but are immediately hampered by the fact that there aren’t very many elections to work from — 25 if we go back 100 years.

So we created a much larger database of elections by looking beyond the United States to hundreds of presidential and parliamentary elections in democratic countries around the world. This exercise gave us far more data to work with: a sample size of more than 450 elections from 35 countries.

The most important finding from our model is the power of incumbency: if you already hold the office you seek, you are far more likely than not to retain it. Our model showed that incumbents have a threefold greater chance of beating their opponent. When no incumbent is running, successor candidates (in this case, Democrats) are three times less likely to win.

From our database of global elections we also learned about the importance of knowing where the public stands on the direction their country and leadership are going. Are they generally happy or unhappy with the government? There are a few ways to measure this, but the most universal (and therefore the one we use) is approval ratings of the sitting leader or president.

Our model proves the power of presidential approval ratings. It determines that in order for a successor candidate to have better than even chances of winning, the sitting president must have an approval rating of above 55 percent. Because Barack Obama’s average approval rating is now at 45 percent, a successor candidate (i.e. Democrat) is unlikely to win.

President (Govt) approval rating

INCUMBENT probability of victory

SUCCESSOR probability of victory
















Source: Ipsos analysis of over 450 elections since 1938

Our model works on the basis of probabilities, and is focused at the party level rather than the candidate level. It seeks only to predict the likelihood of a change to the party in power. It has an 85 percent predictive ability, so it’s right most — but not all — of the time. Things that could confound the model include rapid changes to Obama’s approval rating, or unusually high or low turnout (which can be driven by “wild card” candidates or other factors).

In the coming months, Obama’s approval ratings may tick up. But they would have to pass the 55 point mark to give the Democrats even odds of keeping the White House. This is extremely unlikely, given the fact that presidential approval typically declines over time, and Obama’s ratings are no exception.

Some will argue that Hillary Clinton is special; that her chances are significantly better because, given her popularity and status as a “legacy” candidate, she seems more like an incumbent. But if we go along with that hypothesis and run it through our model, at Obama’s current approval ratings, Clinton’s chances of winning the general election are still less than half.

The Democrats have quite a mountain to summit to retain power past 2016.








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The statistical model ignores Congress low favorability numbers, their dysfunction, lack of strong leadership, dislike of government to make a better civilization, their talk of who has the most money and sex, denial of women’s rights, and lack of empathy for the middle class and those in poverty.

Posted by Flash1022 | Report as abusive

The model treats foreign election data and U.S. election data as being equally valid for making predictions here in the USA. Furthermore, to create the larger sample size, the author uses a recipe that is 17 parts foreign election data for every one part of U.S. election data. (25 US elections and 425 foreign elections). Only time will tell whether this predictions rest on a solid foundation or a house of cards…

Posted by CanyonLiveOak | Report as abusive

I agree with the authors. Will Rogers observed many years ago that: “The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.” Not to mention mention that the leading Democrat candidate is a lying weasel.

Posted by Yvo_Kerwar | Report as abusive

Forget the debate? The election is one year away, and your logic is not advanced enough to determine the outcome; but nice try.

Posted by ekr | Report as abusive

If a Republican wins in 2016 we’re almost certainly heading towards the war with Putin’s Russia.

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive

“That conclusion is based on the results of a data model we created… ”

End of credibility. You can create a data model that says anything. Just remember, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Posted by crssroads1 | Report as abusive

Haha. Does your ‘model’ account for the fact that the GOP is about ready to nominate Donald friggin Trump? A guy who has lost 4 previous election attempts, and mistook the Iranian special forces (Quds) for our allies (Kurds) repeatedly in a recent foreign policy discussion?

Male Sarah Palin running for GOP president. Good joke.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

I see nothing in the model that considers that fact that the Republican party is a complete circus right now. No way they win a general election.

Posted by 16grande | Report as abusive

Very weak proof in this model. Statistics can be twisted to form any conclusion and a year before the election is not the time to make predictions. Is this just an attempt to convince potential voters how to vote? Or to dissuade voters by showing that their candidate can’t possibly win?

Posted by Romas | Report as abusive

I wonder if the Presidential statistical model factors in:
– Congress being controlled by the opposite party;
– Congress having lowest ever approval ratings;
– Many presidential non-approvers being sold a pack of racist and religious lies about the current president and misinformation about the recovery of the economy.

The Democratic debate finally started to tear apart the web of misinformation pedaled by the GOP over the past eight years.

Posted by jesterboomer2 | Report as abusive

Such a load of BS; guess anyone with a functioning brain can figure out in two seconds who owns Reuters, huh? The repubs can’t even come up with a viable candidate for Speaker of the House, much less POTUS. If a tv star with no political experience is all they have, they’re done for; and trust me, we WILL VOTE to make sure we have a Democratic president in 2016!

Posted by tonyp3101 | Report as abusive

I fear Reuters has forgotten the Electoral Vote. The Blue states have the most of course and the ‘useful idiots’ will vote for a D even if Satan is in that column. That alone would give the Dem nearly 230 + votes already. Then the Pub has to run the table. I hope Reuters is correct. Lib Dems are insane and killing America with its domestic and international socialist agenda. Still with the media loving them and the dopes voting in Dem primaries who do not get the real issues: i.e. that ISIS is more an important issue than CLIMATE., the Dems have a huge advantage.

Posted by phillyfanatic | Report as abusive

Democrats are going to nominate either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden – two candidates who have lost every time they’ve run.

Republicans are going to nominate Donald Trump, who wins at everything he does.

Foregone conclusion who the next president will be.

Posted by SamHains | Report as abusive

It’ll be more complex this time around with – some traditional democratic voters voting for Trump while some traditional republicans voting for Bernie. Such subtle but important shifts may not be captured well with these models.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

There is a large liberal majority in America. At least 15% of the people “dissatisfied” with Obama…. are dissatisfied because he is not liberal ENOUGH. And they’re kind of right.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive


Posted by tribeUS | Report as abusive

Would you vote for a clown or someone who stands a chance of being presidential, whether or not you like their policies? There are 2 and maybe 3 on the democratic side and none on the republican side, in Oct 2015. With the clowns in the GOP proudly spouting hatred and vitriol the democrats have a wild card in their favor. Most people will not vote for a candidate they cannot respect or who does not show respect for the voters. If someone like Trump or Carson should win the presidency the ‘noble experiment’ that started in 1776 will have ended with a reversion to a monarchy of wealth and arrogance supported by national servitude to make them more wealthy and more arrogant, and dismissive of the masses while pandering to the LCD.

Posted by ArghONaught | Report as abusive

So have you made any allowances for the mind-boggling behaviour of the opposing power?

Posted by Garton | Report as abusive

Two simple reasons a Democrat will likely win in 2016:
1- Trump
2- Carson

Posted by rawbitz | Report as abusive

There may be a fundamental problem with this analysis. In most parliamentary democracies, the head of government and the control of the legislature are always the same party or coalition. However in the USA the president and congress are often at odds. Results can vary based on whether voters blame the president or congress for the current situation.

Posted by BakerStreet | Report as abusive

The democrats have a …you know… er… a trump card!

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive

The Republicans can win again in 2016, if they cheat enough.

Posted by Calvin2k | Report as abusive

the only way for a democrat to win the presidency is with massive voter fraud like the last election.

Posted by zotdoc | Report as abusive

If “statistical models” couldn’t predict the ascendancy of someone like Trump, why should they be any more believable now… especially with so much evidence to the contrary?

Posted by ming_on_mongo | Report as abusive

Just reading the comments below reinforces my belief that Dems are ignorant pseudo-children who engage in ‘magical thinking’.

Posted by Shrekgrinch | Report as abusive

Didn’t this guy have the repub in the last election

Posted by cwo4_ret. | Report as abusive

They were wrong in 2012 and look to be in 2016. The country is tired of the status quo, but that doesn’t mean they are willing to go the way of Republican policies that seem to originate from Southern style politics. The assumptions by the writer, based on the past, will rewrite the election results.

Posted by feyindie60 | Report as abusive

Not if JEB! Bush is the Republican nominee. If Americans elect a third Bush, they will unambiguously deserve the damnation they will get.

Posted by Jebwatch | Report as abusive

The Republicans could have put forward a good and electable candidate. Instead, they got whipped into a frothy orgasm at the first one who came out with some white supremacist slurs against Mexicans. Now Donald Trump is their boy, and he’s about as smart and electable as Sarah Palin.

Their fault. They did this.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

That is a welcome change from pontificating to studying patterns. I still hope a Democrat wins, because the Republican Party is in serious disarray. But your analysis is most welcome.

Posted by Ralphooo | Report as abusive

ONE REASON the Republicans will not win the white house in 2016; Donald Trump is completely unqualified to be Commander in Cheif.

Posted by oakpkdude | Report as abusive

The use of foreign election data, especially from parliamentary systems, makes this model useless.

Posted by mtdem95 | Report as abusive

Game … Set … and Match ..

It’s already settled … 2016: Jeb! vs Hillary

Get ready to RUMBLE!

Posted by davyx | Report as abusive

Problem is incredibly small sample. There’s been only 2 elections that fit this criteria in the past 50+years and one of those was G. H.W. Bush and that was the first time that had happened since WWII. The model in these 2 elections was 50/50 in predicting those. Clintons approval rating was 68% hard to argue Al Gore had better than 70% chance to win that election.

Posted by Dwolves | Report as abusive

Like Baker Street, I’m troubled by lumping parliamentary systems and the U.S. system together. It’s my understanding than in parliamentary systems, voters vote for a party to take control, not a person. Even then, if the party that gets the most votes doesn’t get an outright majority, they must form a coalition with other parties. A coalition can include small parties who join forces with the largest bloc only if they’re given a significant concession or the freedom to vote as they wish on certain issues, as happens in Israeli politics all the time.

Since the winning party/coalition chooses its head of state, that selected person must reflect the views of the the winning party/coalition. Contrast that with the bizarre electoral college, winner-take-all U.S. system that can produce a chief executive philosophically opposed to the party that controls the legislature.

So, I don’t understand how the data the researchers assembled is conceptually cohesive.

Posted by jake3_14 | Report as abusive

So many Lib Dem trolls. LOL. The truth hurts huh? Yes the American people of having an unqualified President like Obummer in office. Yes the American people of lying cheating Clintons in office raping American and have double standards of justice. No America is not ready for a crazy Socialist like Sanders to turn us into a bankrupt country like Greece. Americans want their economy restored and energy independence. We want one immigration policy for all and our borders completely protected from drugs and criminals pouring across thanks to Democrats. And of course we need leadership and a President who will deal with the threats overseas before they end up on our doorstep and people start getting blown up at Starbucks. In short we need real Republican leadership, common sense leadership to solve our problems and balance our national budget. And finally we want to see liars and crooks like Hillary who have broken the law and taken blood money from countries in the Middle East to pay for her crimes and go to jail not the White House. Vote Republican! Make America Great Again!!

Posted by balias | Report as abusive

How much money did the Republican party pay these writers to make this up? The radical GOP right is totally out-of-touch with the general voting public and the party’s platforms run completely counter to national opinion polls. This so-called “Model” they claim to be using is terribly flawed. Just shows more Republican fantases and a little social engineering to influence the public.

Posted by jimboota | Report as abusive

I don’t think so. If a republican took the election we’d be in the war that ends the world. The warmongers would have us in many wars too. This model doesn’t include the lowest rating of Congress I’ve ever seen and that the repubican House is run by tea party extremists and the party is imploding because of them. They can’t even organize to pick a Speaker. They are divide and that isn’t included in the model either. I don’t see a repubican in the White House and I’m good at predictions. Real good.

Posted by pro-choiceUS | Report as abusive

Usually the comments section yields at least a few insightful comments. Sometimes they’re better than the article.

Here, not so much. It’s all “Rethuglicans are brain dead evil nitwits, model that” and “Reuters must be on the payroll”.

This is a serious analysis, which you should dispute with serious rationale. The name calling just makes the nay-sayers look foolish.

Posted by mlebauer | Report as abusive

Did not factor in the fact that the Republicans can not find anyone who is not batguano pants on head crazy to run.

Posted by exboyracer | Report as abusive

Here is what is being missed
Gore’s loss= if 3rd party Nader doesnt run Gore easily wins Fla and the election
Gore lost Fla by 547 votes..Nader got 97000

The GOP now runs comic book characters that appeal only to the most extreme

Posted by lizzie91 | Report as abusive

The US needs to elect someone who can work better with Congress to solve problems instead of electing a “legacy” candidate to make history.

Posted by naedr | Report as abusive

Democrats are going to nominate either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden – two candidates who have lost every time they’ve run.

Republicans are going to nominate Donald Trump, who wins at everything he does.

Foregone conclusion who the next president will be.

Posted by Donald-The | Report as abusive

There’s no way a Republican has a chance of winning unless they find some way to cheat which is likely. Start practicing saying Madame President.

Posted by zip517 | Report as abusive

Programmers have a saying for this kind of modeling;

“Garbage in, garbage out.”

Posted by dtrammel | Report as abusive

There is no way that you could have accurately depicted the lunacy of this batch of GOP candidates and the revulsion experienced by sane voters at the mere mention of their names.

Posted by jenp | Report as abusive

The authors of this article are severely deluded. Let’s hope they come back, after Hillary’s landslide election, with an apology, or at lease a suicide note.

Posted by weredutch | Report as abusive

First, the calculation was proven false when Reagan won a third term (because George Bush followed him) so we had 12 years of republicans in the White House. No current democrat has been able to match Reagan/Bush and Bush only lost his second term b/c of his stupid, “read my lips, no new taxes” lie. However, only ONE President has been popular enough to win 4 terms AND have another democrat follow him -FDR– (however,he died before he could begin his 4th term), then Truman (a democrat) followed him. Nothing would please me more than to have a republican in the White House in 2017, as I am sick and tired of this Administration and its lies,cover-ups, and all around incompetence. (Look who Obama picked for SOS, a woman who, at the least was so incompetent as to not safeguard the Nation’s security, or at worst, broke quite a few laws because she feels they are Not for her to follow, only the common man/woman does that. Then we move on to the grouchy 73 year old who looks like he’s 93 and still singing the praises of Fidel Castro and every socialist country on earth.

Posted by Sharonann | Report as abusive

Hey Solidar- Trump may be a lot of things but stupid he is not. How much money did you earn?? Or how many businesses do you operate? As for Palin, at least she knows her way around a computer and knows enough to keep Classified documents safe. I have long said that Hillary is not Nearly as smart as she thinks she is. She has never achieved one darn thing on her own, always riding the coattails of her husband, Obama and carpetbagging to win the seat in New York as Arkansas was too smart to ever support,her.

Posted by Sharonann | Report as abusive

Trump went bankrupt 3 times, screwed his creditors and suppliers while keeping huge “salaries” for himself. As though he’s providing a valuable service to someone by hosing them. Anyone can do that. But everyone did, we would not have a country.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Out of curiosity Mr. Young and Ms. Clark,
when Ipsos did this research on parliamentary and other legislative/executive elections from abroad, did they use non-“Winner Takes All” elections in their dataset (Single member pluralism)? If they/you did, you have a significant and derailing framing issue as they would use different mechanics than what is experienced in the “States”, as posited by Duverger’s principle. I’d really appreciate an answer to this.

Posted by OxymorontoMoron | Report as abusive

“Our model works on the basis of probabilities, and is focused at the party level rather than the candidate level. It seeks only to predict the likelihood of a change to the party in power.” Focusing on the party level is a mistake. The U.S. doesn’t have a parliamentary system where the people vote for the parties then the parties select the candidates and remove them from office if they fail to support the platform. The primary election system means that the candidates control the parties rather than the other way around. The relevant pattern is that of the candidate level, not the party level.

Posted by Sewblon | Report as abusive

I’m sorry but your spreadsheet sucks you forgot to include the antics of the Hard Right Conservative Republican Clown Car Show.

I and many others are sick of them and we are Republicans!

Posted by grolmos | Report as abusive

Are you seriously trying to run a statistical analysis on presidential elections without incumbents running? How big is your N value there?

Good lord, this is stupid.

Posted by epenthesis | Report as abusive

“Ipsos analysis of 300 polls across 40 markets from 1980 through current”

Even if they were all in the US, 300 polls is not enough to inform a complex statistical model. How many of these markets even have two-party systems?

I don’t even know how to structure a response to this garbage article.

“presidential approval typically declines over time”

How dense do you have to be to write something like this??? As if politics is some deterministic process that never deviates from script.

“Because of that, we can say, with reasonable confidence, that a Republican will be moving into the White House in 2017.”

How much do you want to bet?

Posted by funktapus | Report as abusive

“It means (Democrats) are on good footing going into the rest of the election,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. Politics | Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:23am EDT

Posted by itoccurstome | Report as abusive

The actual rule that should be used for modeling in the US is that the successor candidate loses since WWII, except the first one where Truman won in 48 and Bush won in 88. And Ford probably would have won in 76 if he had not pardoned Nixon.

There is also the minor problem that the 2000 election was open/shut stolen.

In 2004 any election involving a certain voting machine type is dubious at best.

Posted by mtsc | Report as abusive

I am much less likely to vote if Clinton and Bush are facing each other. At this point, I am inclined to vote for a Republican, except for Jeb Bush, so I agree with part of the reasoning stated in this article.

Posted by Khauldunn | Report as abusive

85% accuracy is not publishable accuracy…

Posted by alibama | Report as abusive

Your model fails to take into account the Republican stable has — for the first time I can remember since Eisenhower — no viable candidates this election cycle. In fact, the two leading candidates on the Republican side are out-and-out loons.

Posted by LeeMay | Report as abusive

Going to be interested in seeing how a GOPER wins when blacks, hispanics, asians, women, college kids, and LGBT won’t vote for them. Even the GOP analysis of the 2012 election concluded their current strategy won’t work.

Posted by deepharbor | Report as abusive

for the sake of the country i hope they are wrong!

Posted by franktwo | Report as abusive

What do the Republicans have to offer? Deregulation of Wall Street, more government in the bedroom and the vagina, more guns, more wars all the while pitting Americans against each other. No thank you. Now if the same writers can speak out about gerrymandering to rig congressional elections, that’ll be a good article to read.

Posted by Tonper | Report as abusive

Remember the republicans have not WON a Prez. election since 1988

Posted by russ1960 | Report as abusive

Phew! This sure makes me feel better, we can only hope that the models prove to be true.

Posted by LonsterBrau | Report as abusive

If all the blacks, so called Hispanics, homosexuals, and women are going to vote for the Democratic Party, that leaves only old whit men and a few Asians to vote Republican. Sadly, Democrats win by a landslide.

Posted by ArribaJuarez | Report as abusive

Young and Clark, are you a comedy team? The leading republican candidates are a joke, did you plug that in to your model?
Vote every republican out of every office every chance you get!

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Republicans run male Sarah Palin, Black Santorum….. then cry in confusion as to how they lost…. again.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

That was unfair of me. You republicans also have Ted Cruz running for President. A foreign-born white supremacist with Cuban parents, and the approval of 8% of Americans. Yay!

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Talk about wishful thinking. We heard the same stuff during Obama’s re-election. How his approval rating wasn’t high enough to win. Blah blah blah. Cut to him winning in another landslide.

Posted by JBG1998 | Report as abusive

One big exception to your line of reasoning : there are more 40 and under voters than in the last 6 presidential elections. Watch a youth oriented program. Try Bill Maher. This group of voters are not happy with Republicans.After the last social security raise – zilch, people who depend on Soc. Sec. will have trouble buying 3 buck bread, 3 buck eggs and 4 buck milk.Don’t think they will be too happy with the Republican candidates.Your statistics remind me of an old saw : figures lie and liars figure.

Posted by redtick | Report as abusive

not gonna happen! the gops resemble nothing than continuing parade of buffoons at a barnum and bailey sideshow. the american public might suffer from add to a certain extent but to the point of being blatantly suicidal, unlees of course they wish have a brand new war to watch on cnn but i think not. we are all just weary of all that nonsense. thanx to donald trump for being delusional enough to believe that he is in fact julius caesar and for destroying whatever small amount of trust rational people had in the gop. he has done us all well.

Posted by chelan | Report as abusive

There has been no Democratic Presidential administration in recent time as successful as during Bill Clinton’s two terms. Yet his Vice President lost the follow-up election. Compare that to today, with the nation still not favoring Obama’s signature program, record number out of the labor pool, borders open, the economy stagnant, welfare/EBT/disability at record levels, and every country in the world except Iran is dissatisfied with our foreign policy debacles. And the Dems think they have Clinton assured of winning? Clinton, who’s number one description in a recent poll was “liar”?

Posted by WinstonBela | Report as abusive

If a Democrat wins in 2016 we’re almost certainly heading towards an occupation by Putin’s Russia.

Posted by jstantheranimal | Report as abusive

America! Please DO NOT VOTE!! You’ll only encourage them.

Posted by jstantheranimal | Report as abusive

If a Democrat wins in 2016 we’re almost certainly heading towards war with Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China.

Posted by LegalBagel | Report as abusive

This is one of the first articles I’ve seen on this, though the model holds true through nearly all 250 years of US electoral history. Incumbents always win, unless their approval numbers are down in the low 30s or 20s (Carter). Successors always lose, unless the incumbents numbers are above 55.

The one caveat I didn’t see covered in the article is the effect of a viable third party candidate. Bush Sr. didn’t have bad enough numbers to lose as an incumbent, but Perot was popular enough to split the vote and give Clinton the win.

In a nutshell, there are only three paths to a Democratic Oval office victory next year;
* Obama dies in office, leaving an incumbent Biden to coast to victory
* Obama’s numbers magically shoot above 55%
* A candidate viable to the GOP splits their vote and gives the Democrats the win.

Outside of one of those three, whoever wins the GOP nomination will nearly assuredly be our next president, just as the opposite was true in 2008.

Posted by BenjF | Report as abusive

This reminds me of 2012 when all conservative websites predicted Romney would win the election in a landslide.

Posted by DianeH528 | Report as abusive

The GOP party has an agenda of cutting taxes on the rich, cutting government regulations, deporting millions of immigrants, bashing women, gays, immigrants, cutting entitlements on the 99%, but increasing entitlements on 1%.
Good luck with that agenda.

Posted by Kemah | Report as abusive

Does the model take into account Bill Clinton’s favorable ratings as well? There’s going to be a decent-sized percentage of voters who factor in how they felt about Bill’s performance, not just how they feel about Obama. Add to this the ongoing circuses seen in the House of Representatives and the Trump campaign and all this “modeling” the authors refer to seems to have less and less potential importance. This year is different, in many ways. We aren’t even factoring in “the Blue Wall” of 240 electoral votes all going consistently for the Democrat in the last 6 out of 6 elections, the fact that 1.2 to 1.6 million GOP voters have died off since the last presidential election, the fact that Latinos are probably going to spurn the GOP pretty heavily this time around, or the fact that a significant percentage of single women will drift massively towards Clinton. I think my modeling is going to be a better “predictor” here than saying something like people don’t like Obama, therefore they will not like Clinton…

Posted by Avacadojoe | Report as abusive

The one obvious thing which all models have utterly failed to calculate, is race. I’ll state the obvious: race played an enormous variable in the past two presidential elections. Well over 90% of blacks voted for Obama in both elections. That essentially skewed the results in a way in which no model predicted. It also significantly skews Obama’s popularity numbers, because his popularity is not going to translate to his successor (unless he/she is also equally popular among black).
Duh. How can so many mathematicians be so stupid?

Posted by missourimedic | Report as abusive

The USA is one of the very few countries that elects a President independent of Congress. Many of the other democracies have a parliament with a Prime Minister, with governments that rise and fall depending on how much support they have in the legislature, and elections that can be called at any time that are not on a set schedule. I don’t see how they can include the two in the same model and get an accurate result.

Posted by Magnatta | Report as abusive

What an unscientific model. Propaganda like this help makes the rightwing voter base the most idiotic and misinformed intellectual under class.

Remember the so called “unskewed polls” from 2012 which was prophesying Romney victory?

I thought Reuters was a credible news or opinion site. I am sadly mistaken.

Posted by Librull | Report as abusive

Have you looked at the republican candidates? really with Trump 1st and Carson 2 nd and the rest in single digits you have the guts to say a victory. just a reminder how out of touch you guys are about pretty much everything.

Posted by ReneMandeville | Report as abusive

Obama is at 50% today.

Posted by jeibal02 | Report as abusive

You don’t need data to tell you this. Just look at the “anybody but Hillary” wing of the democrat party. In 2007 and 2008 we were being told about the “inevitability” of her being president. Then Obama came along and she was toast. Let me tell you dems something. Hillary sucks and an old white socialist from Vermont is never going to be elected.

Posted by harryTsimons | Report as abusive

The article’s premise is bolstered by the fact that polls are becoming less and less accurate. It is harder and harder to contact a random sample of likely voters by phone or the internet.

Posted by DantheMormon | Report as abusive log/wp/2015/10/20/the-math-is-clear-hill ary-clinton-has-better-odds-of-becoming- president-than-anybody-else-by-far/

Posted by DesMoinesDude | Report as abusive

Three simple reasons a Republican will likely lose in 2016:

1. George W. (he “kept us safe” we have been recently reminded) Bush
2. JEB! Bush, reminding us recently that his brother “kept us safe.”
3. Donald Trump, for baiting JEB! Bush to remind us recently that his brother “kept us safe.”

Posted by Jebwatch | Report as abusive

Hillary is unlike-able and thus is un-electable…period….period.

Posted by WadeC | Report as abusive

yep, we can look forward to President Trump. Even some blue states will turn red….Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and even possibly Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Posted by jack_carlson | Report as abusive

The last non-incumbent Democrat to succeed a two term Democrat was Martin Van Buren in 1832.

Maybe this time will be different than the last 184 years.

Posted by cwjk | Report as abusive

this is mst absurd kook reasoning gn I have ever come across “Because Barack Obama’s average approval rating is now at 45 percent, a successor candidate (i.e. Democrat) is unlikely to win.”

looks Morons He is at 50% in 2 new polls

Posted by wxdavud | Report as abusive

there is not a single comment about the US unique electoral system. When you look at that the edge is clearly with Dens who have a solid base of 247 EV out of 270 to win

The entire West coast + Hawaii MI IL MN all of New England PA NJ DEL MD DC fix/wp/2015/09/01/how-close-is-the-2016- election-going-to-be-one-projection-has- democrats-in-a-nail-biter/

Posted by wxdavud | Report as abusive

“Why are we so confident, especially when opinion poll data now gives Hillary Clinton the edge over most Republican opponents?”

Clinton polls like the Senate Democrats who were fired in 2014 – statistically tied with her most likely GOP opponents in the mid-40s with an enormous group of undecided who do not approve of her. Add the handicap of following an unpopular incumbent president and how exactly does Clinton get to a majority?

Posted by BartDePalma | Report as abusive

Now – as long as the mainstream media (Candy Crowley) behave professionally perhaps republicans actually have a chance.

Posted by paulmotter | Report as abusive

After reading some of the posts from the partisans this is what I conclude:

Modeling is just that and these probability models are flawed for a variety of reasons. Although this modeling is tried and true, and is verified with past results, this science is junk. The same modeling techniques are used to predict Climate Change (formerly Global warming) but the same technique is valid science, depends on whether you agree with the results or disagree with the results.

The news organization is bias because wealthy Republicans or wealthy Republican supporters control Reuters. Wealthy Democrats or wealthy Democrat supporters also “own” insurance companies, etc. but they get a pass on their involvement on issues such environmental (Tom Steyer), big business (Warren Buffett owes the IRS billions in taxes and owns Insurance giant) (Progressive Insurance is owned by Peter Lewis). But the Koch Brothers are evil because they own big business and contribute to Republican causes on the environment, big business, etc.

Both sides are incredulous that voters will opt for the opposition because they would not dare vote for Bernie/Hillary OR Trump/Carson for reasons of insanity and other obvious reasons.

There’s no way Hillary or Biden wins and at the same time the Republicans are crazy.

Sounds to me like everybody is into magical thinking.

Posted by Caughtinmiddle | Report as abusive

Too bad your “model” doesn’t factor in the total buffoons in the running on the GOP side.
You have to have candidates that have a total package platform, not these morons with less than 6 issues between the 15 of them.

Posted by BleuJean | Report as abusive

You want two reasons why the GOP will likely win in 2016: HILLARY CLINTON.

Posted by Justinian | Report as abusive

Wonder how’s he model looks if Clinton is indicted?

Posted by jschmidt2 | Report as abusive

There is something called model risk — just ask all those modelers who thought subprime mortgage will not lose money because housing prices never declined nation wide. These unexpected changes in the regime, create model risk — they are called Black Swans. Well, this year’s Black Swan is Trump.

Posted by KarimBaj | Report as abusive

gotta love reading the nonsense in these responses. “lack of empathy for the middle class.” under obama: labor participation, down. middle class wages, down. number of people on govt assistance, up. who do you think has presided over the increase in “income inequality” (easily the dumbest phrase of the last half century) that progs like to rail about? under who’s “leadership” do we have a sky hi Dow and falling middle class wages?

back to your model, there’s hope in the predictive power of past events. you’ll have to suffer the ranting of fools (see below), but thank you for publishing your results.

Posted by subframer1 | Report as abusive

It’ll be nice having control of both Houses of Congress and the White House. At last we can get people off the Obama dole and back to work.

Posted by Rhadagastt | Report as abusive

Do you know how many meetings I’ve sat in discussing why the company missed the financial model? This is a joke – the Republicans are toast and don’t stand a chance. Americans have not forgotten the mess made by the last Republican in office. We will NOT go back down that road!

Posted by ThinkTankSF | Report as abusive

This analysis is an embarrassingly bad cherry-pick. When you first said you were looking at models I was expecting something grounded in the electoral college which showed some sort of structural weakness in the Democratic support in some areas. You’d be served almost as well putting the names of the candidates into a numerology scheme.

Here’s another model for you: an increase in the number of registered Independents typically happens when members of one party feel that the party no longer represents them well. Take a look at what happened the last few times this happened, and I suspect you’ll want to retract this article afterwards.

Don’t worry, the Internet has saved a copy so we can remind when you make a wrong prediction for the next election.

Posted by MelNicholson | Report as abusive

This analysis apparently does not take into account that Obama is black and his poll numbers are depressed by racists. HRC will just have to deal with the male chauvinists.

Posted by KLeeChicago | Report as abusive

Can you say “Nate Silver 538″

Posted by neworleansjoe | Report as abusive

Oh, such wishful thinking from the corporate media! You can’t enlist candidates from the circus and expect us to vote for one of them to be our president. Not happening.

Posted by Voltaire1 | Report as abusive

I’m going to do my best to see that does not occur.

Posted by omemorethought | Report as abusive

Jed Bush is the last people that will be in the White house we need a Bush as president like a hole in the head. His brother destroy the Jed Bush is the last person that will be in the White house we need a Bush as president like a hole in the head His brother destroy the economy . And sent kids over there to die for oil. Trump is the ticket

Posted by Harley56 | Report as abusive

What About the Repub #’s with the hispanics there is no way a Repub will win in 2016

Posted by RyanBusillo | Report as abusive

It’s worth pointing out that Clifford Young and Julia Clark, the co-authors, are the President and Senior Vice President of Ipsos Public Affairs respectively. Ipsos being the company used for all of the analysis of polling data in the article.

Posted by katlange | Report as abusive

With due respect, I’ve seen a better analysis than THAT about an upcoming election from a gypsy fortuneteller at a Renaissance fair.

Your analysis pales in comparison to the EXCELLENT ones done by Douglas Hibbs’ (the Bread and Peace model) and that of Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry (from the University of Colorado) from last time; depite the research they did, THEY were wrong.

Yours is wishful thinking and shoddy work.

People are not statistics. That is the major weakness of the Republican Party.

Posted by MaxWell66 | Report as abusive

There are a couple of things the middle doesn’t take into account. For one the demographics’ are not in the GOP’s favor any more and will likely get worse unless they start courting minorities. Studies show Republican’s will need to win over 40% of the Hispanic vote and that is very unlikely based on the current climate of hostility coming from the GOP toward Hispanics. Also, the GOP base which use to be the largest voting block is dying off and is now not even in the top three. States like New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado which use to be swing states are becoming solid blue because of the growing Hispanic vote.

Posted by SteveO999 | Report as abusive

Congratulations for the closet party that will represent Christian values.For those that do not have any moral belief or those that chose to hate GOD I must say we are bring back God into our society,It will be bitter sweet and the Evil that is becoming popular will soon be defeated.
We as Christ followers can relish the fact a republican will at the very least allow Christianity to take back what is Gods.We will not hate we will simply Love and allow everyone the freedoms they think they are fighting for.United we stand divided we fall,,,,One nation under God,indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Posted by christfollower | Report as abusive

I would have guessed “fear” and “ignorance.”

Posted by BrandoMarlin | Report as abusive

I thought I was reading The Onion there for a second. GOP has no chance.

Posted by mistercoffee | Report as abusive

“Why are we so confident, especially when opinion poll data now gives Hillary Clinton the edge over most Republican opponents? ”

As of January 13th is a false figure. Sanders has double digit polling figures in both Iowa and New Hampshire, in likely votes between himself and Trump, vs Hilary vs Trump.

No previous voting patterns are applicable when you take into account this is the first election where young voters were raised without TV news being their number one source of political data. Sanders is real while Hilary and the Republicans are owned spokesmen for the world of high finance. Young, and old, voters, now know this.

Posted by patriclancy | Report as abusive

I believe, with how crazy this election is, using foreign data COULD actually be somewhat valid.

Posted by colorninja | Report as abusive

I recommend everyone ignore the tripe in this story and just read
Utter tripe.

Posted by PAL52 | Report as abusive

Bernie Sanders, that’s what all the real computer models and prediction histories are showing. Clearly this model involves only the American Ruling Class, who are irrelevant now that Capitalism has reached Zero Returns.

Posted by melodyszabo | Report as abusive